Skip to content

Press & News

Voxel51’s Coronavirus Physical Distancing Index Tracks Reaction to Social Distancing Around the World


Ann Arbor, MI – Video data scientists at AI startup Voxel51, have developed The Voxel51 Physical Distancing Index (PDI) to help track how COVID-19 and preventative measures to contain its spread have impacted human activity around the globe in real time. Launched today, the free AI-powered interactive tool enables users to explore a day-by-day timeline of social activity in some of the world’s most popular public spaces. The PDI score helps people understand and compare how the coronavirus is changing social behaviors over time and enables municipalities to visualize how they’re doing from a public health perspective.

Voxel51’s video analysis technology currently gathers and analyzes historical and real time video streams from public street cameras in London, New York City, Fort Lauderdale, New Jersey, Prague and Dublin, Ireland. The company’s cutting-edge computer vision and deep learning models are able to detect the number of pedestrians, vehicles, and other human-centric objects in each live stream. A PDI score or the average amount of human activity over the previous 24 hours is automatically calculated every 15 minutes to track the change over time.

PDI scores are represented in each time-stamped data point on the chart along with relevant COVID-19 news headlines from the day, and a snapshot image from the live video scene. Users can also compare scores across locations to see the differences in PDI relative to each city over time. The PDI dashboard is updated in real-time and will continue to integrate live street cams from additional cities around the world.

The PDI is non-invasive and does not extract any identifying information about the individuals in the video, or use other data sources like mobile phone signals, which allow only approximate location estimates. Instead, Voxel51 focuses on specific centralized locations of interest in each city and watches the changes in public social activity in real time.

“The coronavirus has had an intense impact on daily life across the globe, and we wanted to find a way to use our technology as a tool for public awareness,” said Jason Corso, Voxel51 co-founder and CEO. “We were able to apply our computer vision methods to compare how people are responding to physical distancing measures around the world and to study how exposure rates correlate with news on the coronavirus and physical distancing mandates over time.”

“The data in the graphs speaks for itself. Coronavirus and the necessary preventative measures across the globe have had an intense impact on daily life,” said Brian Moore, Voxel51 co-founder and CTO. “All of the cities we’re tracking have seen a sharp decline in public activity during the month of March.”

About Voxel51
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and founded in 2016 by University of Michigan professor Dr. Jason Corso and Dr. Brian Moore, Voxel51 is a video-first AI company that provides the leading video understanding platform to transform raw video and images into actionable intelligence. Voxel51’s AI technology brings state-of-the-art deep learning models to users, enabling them to make real-time, data-driven decisions across the computer vision system lifecycles. For more information visit